Russian Gymnast Wears Pro-Invasion Symbol On Podium Next To Ukrainian Rival

Ivan Kuliak faces possible disciplinary action for his "shocking behaviour" at the Gymnastics World Cup event in Doha.

A Russian gymnast will be investigated after he displayed a national war symbol on his leotard while standing beside a Ukrainian competitor on the podium in Qatar on Saturday.

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) said it had asked the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation to open disciplinary proceedings against Ivan Kuliak after his “shocking behaviour” at the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup competition in Doha, per The Guardian.

After winning bronze in the parallel bars final, Kuliak taped the letter “Z” to his chest and stepped up to the podium beside the gold medal winner, Illia Kovtun of Ukraine, the BBC reported.

The letter Z has become a mark of support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has been painted on the side of military trucks, worn by pro-war politicians and marked on the cars of Russian civilians.

The World Cup was the final chance for Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in an FIG-governed competition. Starting on Monday, all athletes, officials and judges from those countries will be banned, the FIG announced Friday.

Multiple sports have also cut ties with Belarusian and Russian athletes since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The International Olympic Committee originally said it would allow athletes from the two countries to compete in the 2022 Paralympic Games under a neutral flag, but later reversed course to ban them altogether.


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